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SpamAssassin is a free utility offered to all InMotion Hosting customers to help combat spam. SpamAssassin works by blocking unwanted email addresses before they reach your email's inbox. By default, SpamAssassin is disabled so you must enable it within cPanel to take advantage of it's features.

How does SpamAssassin Work?

SpamAssassin is not an email filter, as some other spam prevention tools are. Instead, it determines whether an email is spam as soon as it hits the server. SpamAssassin works on the back end of your email server and has 10 different levels of settings to catch spam. When enabled by default, you will be set to 5. This is mid-range.

What does this default score of 5 actually mean?

How the point system works

SpamAssassin uses a points based system called "hits" to label spam. When it finds particular characteristics in an email it assigns a point value. If the email exceeds the maximum point value you set, the email is flagged as spam.

The lower the score you set, the more email will be caught as spam. For example, a setting of 1 means that only one hit needs to be flagged against an email for it to be considered spam. If you set the score higher, more hits will be required on an email for it to be labeled as spam. So, the lower the score, the more emails should be flagged as spam.

We suggest testing the different settings prior to using a higher setting.

Enabling SpamAssassin

  1. The first step to enabling SpamAssassin is to log into cPanel. Once logged into cPanel, look for the icon called "SpamAssassin" under the Mail section.


  2. Since SpamAssassin is disabled by default you will need to enable it. To do so, click on the "Enable Spam Assassin" link.


  3. Now that you have enabled SpamAssassin, you will see a confirmation page. Congratulations! You are finshed! Click go back if you wish to modify the settings for SpamAssassin.


Using Filters to Organize Spam

In order to maximize the true power of SpamAssassin, we recommend you set up a Filter/Message rule in your mail client. Emails that are determined to be spam are still delivered to your inbox. Spam will begin with the subject line "***SPAM***". By setting up filters in your email client you can sort the mail and have all messages labeled as spam placed into its folder for review later.  This will keep junk mail out of your inbox. To learn how to set up filters in various email clients, please visit our guide on setting up email filters.

Please check the next article on Setting domain MX records to remote settings in cPanel. If you missed our previous article, please see the Import Email Accounts/Forwarders in cPanel tutorial. For more information on this course please visit Using Email.

Continued Education in Course 201: Using Email
You are viewing Section 6: SpamAssassin: Fighting Spam
Section 5: Import Email Accounts/Forwarders in cPanel
Section 7: Setting domain MX records to remote settings in cPanel
n/a Points
2014-04-20 11:57 am

When I identify SPAM emails, do I place the word SPAM on the subject line?

11,186 Points
2014-04-21 9:04 am
When SpamAssassin identifies any spam, it will automatically place the word <em>spam</em> within the subject line.
n/a Points
2014-09-08 4:33 pm

I've never ONCE seen a spam e-mail come through my SpamAssassin filter with "spam" appended to the subject line.  I've got my Spam Score set to 1.1, and I specifically added rules to my configuration file that call for the subject to be modified.

32,672 Points
2014-09-08 4:40 pm
Hello Craig,

Thanks for the comment. If you want to see if you're getting any spam, log in to webmail then look for the SPAM folder and see if spam is being stored in the folder. Otherwise, you may not be receiving any spam into your account.

Arnel C.
n/a Points
2014-07-24 9:43 pm

It seems the instruction on this page counter the instructions on Spam Assasin...they say set the number higher (for ISP) " but if you're an ISP installing SpamAssassin, you should probably set the default to be more conservative, like 8.0 or 10.0" 

23,453 Points
2014-07-25 10:08 am
Hello Michael,

Thank you for your comment. SpamAssassin uses a default threshold of 5, as per their Official Documentation.

You can always change your SpamAssassin settings in cPanel at any time.

If you are following a specific guide, we would be happy to take a look? Can you provide a link to the guide?

If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.
Thank you,

n/a Points
2014-09-04 10:10 am

if I setup 3 that means I can stop more spam emails. I am getting lot fo junk email as zip files? how do I stop those. like the messages from AutoWarranty,

11,186 Points
2014-09-04 10:29 am
On shared hosting accounts, it is not possible to filter zip files, however, on a VPS or dedicated server, <a href="">ClamAV</a> can be set up which will scan and remove unwanted zip files.
n/a Points
2015-02-01 5:19 pm

When using Spam Box, if we use imap will the spam folder show up in a local Outlook client?

23,453 Points
2015-02-02 10:51 am
Hello Tim,

Thank you for your email spam box question. Yes, since IMAP leaves all the files on the server by default, any client connecting via IMAP should be able to see all the folders including the Spam box.

Ensure you Subscribed to your INBOX in Outlook, so you can view all folders available on the server.

If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.

Thank you,
n/a Points
2015-03-29 3:05 pm

I was receiving a lot of "junk" email so I played around with all the spam filters. Good news it stopped everything. The bad news it stopped EVERYTHING! I have disabled everything I could find, but now if someone sends an email to me, the system sends a "challenge" email back to them. If it is a human and they reply to the challenge email they get an email telling them that they are on the whitelist and can now send an email. How do I turn off the challenge part?

37,605 Points
2015-03-30 10:13 am
Hello Jim,

That sounds like you still have the BoxTrapper still running. Disabling that will stop the challenge emails from being sent.

Kindest Regards,
Scott M
n/a Points
2015-05-04 12:32 pm

Which version of spam assasin are you running on the servers?

37,605 Points
2015-05-04 1:14 pm
Hello Lori,

While version may vary slightly from server to server, it appears that we are using SpamAssassin 3.3.1

Kindest Regards,
Scott M
n/a Points
2015-05-21 1:04 pm

Is there anything in place on VPS accounts that runs Bayes learning/filter programs automatically, or will I need to set that up myself through a cron job?  It appears as though something is happening with Spamassassin learning something, but I'm really not too sure.

23,453 Points
2015-05-21 5:31 pm
Hello Craig,

Thank you for contacting us. While, we do not have system like that in place, you definitely have the ability to set it up, or configure it.

If you are having trouble, or have a specific question about Spam Assassin, we would be happy to help you.

Thank you,
n/a Points
2015-10-30 9:12 pm

Is it possible to run sa-learn from the command line?  I have a small shell script that ran sa-learn on my previous host so that I could update HAM and SPAM.

37,605 Points
2015-11-02 2:44 pm
Hello Roger,

Our shared servers will not allow the sa-learn to run on them.

Kindest Regards,
Scott M
n/a Points
2015-11-02 3:30 pm

I've discovered that if you're on a VPS, you can set up a cron job to run sa-learn.  I do not know about other forms of hosting, however.  I have been told that you can run sa-learn from the command line IF you have shell access on your account, but you have to have a VPS account or higher.

n/a Points
2015-11-16 1:39 pm
I am getting hundreds of spam and junk email and don't know what to do about it. I use outlook so not sure if that is doing anything to contribute to he amount of junk I'm getting. I have the settings set for 1:1 but it doesn't seem to be helping at all.

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